Bragging Rights Championship: Texas vs. Duke

by Micah Hart

In the final of All Ball’s inaugural Bragging Rights challenge, it’s no surprise to see the dominant college basketball program over the last two decades make it thus far. It is a little surprising to see their competition, traditionally known as a football school — but one that has churned out a sizable number of NBA players over the last decade. Who will win? That’s for you to decide. And if you need a refresher on the Bragging Rights rules, read up on them here. For a view of the entire bracket and how both teams got to the finals, check here. Onto the finale: 


Texas Longhorns

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 4/3):

LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers: 26.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.2 steals
D.J. Augustin, Bobcats: 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.8 steals
Kevin Durant, Thunder: 33.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.4 steals
T.J. Ford, Pacers: 14.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 0.5 blocks, 2.0 steals
Maurice Evans, Wizards: 14.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.0 steals

Missed the cut: Damion James, Nets; Daniel Gibson, Cavaliers; Royal Ivey, Thunder; Dexter Pittman, Heat; Avery Bradley, Celtics

How they got here: Talk about March Madness. After easily dispatching Washington, the Horns beat UCLA literally at the buzzer, winning their matchup against the Bruins by a single vote in the Elite Eight. In the Final Four, the Horns edged out UConn in their closest match of the tournament, winning by a 52%-48% margin.

Team synopsis: As expected, the Durant-Aldridge combo has proven too much for any opponent thus far. Augustin is having a breakout season in Charlotte, and makes for a solid third option. Ford is somewhat redundant with Augustin on the floor, but his track record is a little better than rookie Damion James. Mo Evans is no star, but he is a capable defender and rebounder who can hit the corner three when needed.

Duke Blue Devils

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 4/3):

Carlos Boozer, Bulls: 27.0 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.1 steals
Corey Maggette, Bucks: 27.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.7 steals
Elton Brand, Sixers: 20.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.6 steals
Grant Hill, Suns: 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.3 steals
Luol Deng, Bulls: 21.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.2 steals

Missed the cut: Shane Battier, Grizzlies; Chris Duhon, Magic; Mike Dunleavy, Pacers; Gerald Henderson, Bobcats; Dahntay Jones, Pacers; Josh McRoberts, Pacers; J.J. Redick, Magic; Shelden Williams, Knicks

How they got here: Took out the LSU Tigers in the Sweet 16 by a 61%-39% tally, and strolled past the Florida Gators in the Elite Eight, 74%-26%. Outlasted Wake Forest 52%-48% in the Final Four.

Team synopsis: People have a tendency to think that Duke players don’t do so well in the pros, but man, look at this lineup. Big and burly, and good luck keeping Brand, Boozer, and Maggette off the offensive glass. The only thing that could pose a problem for the Dookies is a lack of a top-notch outside shooter or true distributor, but Hill and Deng are good enough.

All Ball’s Championship Analysis:
A somewhat similar matchup to the one Duke faced in the semifinals against Wake Forest. Texas is led by two incredibly dynamic scorers, with three complementary players surrounding them (though I don’t think the fans in the comments give Augustin his due credit. He’s actually having a terrific season). Duke has no one on the level of Durant or Aldridge (at least not with the way LA is playing right now), but all five players can put the ball in the hole.

Ultimately, this championship is a contest between size and speed. The Blue Devils have the size advantage (in height, or bulk, or both) at every position, while the Longhorns can claim an edge in speed (with the possible exception of Maggette-Evans) across the board.

If Texas can turn the game into a track meet, the Longhorns will have a great chance to win. But if Duke makes it a half-court game, their ability to go inside (especially Deng and Hill posting up against their miniscule defenders) will give the Blue Devils the title. A younger Elton Brand would be impossible for Texas to stop, but at this stage in his career Durant (who probably draws him defensively) should be able to at least keep him honest. Meanwhile, Deng has as good a chance as any defender to hang with Durant, but KD’s scoring ability is probably the biggest X-factor to consider.

All in all, this would make for a pretty entertaining finale.

We started with 19 schools, and now we are down to two. It’s your turn to have your say:

Result: You voted, and in a close 52%-48% contest, the Duke Blue Devils are awarded Bragging Rights for the next twelve months. Duke had too much all-around game for Texas, I suppose. No surprise, as the Blue Devils probably had the fewest weak links of any team in the bracket. Will that hold up over the next year? Only time will tell…

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  1. Blah says:

    I’m sorry, but this is nothing more than a popularity contest.

  2. Oty says:

    I want to point out that Grant Hill should be the one to defend KD. He is an excellent defender and has shown that he can take it to KD on the defensive end. In four games this season vs. the suns Kevin Durant has shot a combined 27-67 or 40.2%. And 5-17 from range or 29.4%. With a season worst shooting performance of 3-14 and 1-3 from range occurring vs. PHX on March 6th. Grant Hill should not be underestimated as a defender as he has not only done this to Kevin Durant, but also Kobe Bryant.

    • Jake says:

      You’re right. I watched Grant Hill D-up Kobe a couple weeks ago and it was quite impressive. Hill should make an All-NBA defensive team this year.

  3. highflyer says:

    I voted for Duke because of the 5 best players are better than Texas 5 best players and if it was a real like game you could use Grant Hill as the ballhandler, Magette SG and SF Deng PF Boozer and C Brand.. Texas have two 6’0 and smaller PG’s, an NBA role player and 1 star and 1 superstar.

  4. Silver says:

    texas vs wake forest

  5. vman says:

    the Texas team would win with Durant and Aldridge and any three scrubs not even close c’mon.

  6. DERP DERP says:

    defintely duke, durant is over rated and taking spotlight from westbrook who is a much more solid and consistent player. Duke has a HUGE size advange and would completely dominate the boards. So yeah duke FTW!

  7. Kwame Brown says:

    Duke would definitely beat Texas. Duke’s size is the biggest factor here, and they’re very capable of running with the Longhorns. Other than Durant (and maybe L.A. if matched up with Boozer) they’d have a difficult time scoring anywhere, just too small of a team. Btw, Deng and Hill would definitely challenge Durant on every possession.

  8. Duke says:

    I think Duke should win this fight cause they are a better team.

  9. Duke says:

    Duke! Duke! Duke!

  10. Rondo Freak says:

    As has been shown mostly by the Heat this season, one or two players cannot carry a team to wins consistently (sometimes, but not always). This is the case with Texas. Two epic scorers, a couple decent guys and a defender. Texas has large rebounders who are athletic and (some) can shoot the three. I’m surprised it is this close so far, because Duke has a larger advantage over Texas that people think they do. Duke is going to win.

  11. MJrdf says:

    got blocked from voting

  12. Ted says:

    Duke! forever Grant Hill!

  13. KarlJohn says:

    Lol. I think Texas would win. I dont think Duke can keep up with speed of Texas. If guys see the line ups, I think not all the players of duke can attack Aldrigde down the board and I dont think u can expect all of the shoots of Duke to go in. The key to Texas winning is simple. Fast break. Good luck Duke on running up and down the court with 4 guards and catching up with them. Peace out.

  14. Poyser says:

    This is a great matchup; my favorite school(Duke) vs. one of my favorite players in the game today(Aldridge). The scoring combo of LA and KD is probably as unstoppable as any 1-2 scoring punch can be. If Texas moved to a zone defense I think that would give them an edge since Deng is probably the best outside shooter and Maggete and Hill are only average from 3. However, on the other hand, Duke could probably put Hill on Durant and double team Aldridge in the post leaving Mo Evans or TJ Ford to make baskets. All in all, I give this one to Texas in a thriller game because of the scoring power of the big 2 and Augustin spreading out the floor with his range.

  15. dan says:

    texas would win cuz of the speed, and the combo of lamacus and KD